What is Informal Probate?
Informal Probate is a court supervised process to help distribute a deceased individual’s assets. Most probates filed in Arizona are informal probates. An informal probate largely means that formal court hearings aren’t necessary to determine the validity of the will or of the heirs named in a will. Generally Probate rules are unique from state-to-state, so it is important to find an experienced probate lawyer to help navigate the process. We have often seen individuals start the informal probate process without the assistance of an attorney only to later become very overwhelmed and hire an estate planning attorney to finish the process.
Going this route, commonly increases the overall cost, because if mistakes are made in the process an attorney would have to back track to correct the mistakes There are also situations where clients think that they have togo through probate, but they do not because the assets don’t exceed probate limits (which trigger probate in the first place). When assets are under the probate limits, probate substitutes, such as filing a small estate affidavit (personal property affidavit) or a real-property affidavit can save a lot of unnecessary time and expense of probate.
When Informal Probate is Necessary
When a probate lawyer has determined that informal probate is necessary, paperwork needs to be signed and filed with the court to formally name a personal representative or executor. Even though a person may appoint who they’d like to serve as executor in their will, the named person has to be appointed by the court. When appointing a personal representative (or executor) the probate court would look to the will of the deceased person.
In the event that the deceased person never created a will, then the court would come up with its own criteria (following the laws of intestacy) to name an executor to act on the deceased person’s behalf. Once an executor is named by the probate court, the executor has a duty to carry out the affairs of the deceased. If there is a will, then the executor distributes assets according to the will. If there isn’t a will, then the executor distributes assets according to the laws of intestacy. This is all done under the supervision of the probate court.
Help Going through Informal Probate
Dana Law Group has experienced Probate lawyers that help Arizona families navigate or avoid the complex process of informal probate. With offices in Scottsdale, Mesa, Phoenix, Chandler, Glendale, Sun City, Tucson, and Prescott, we have an experienced probate lawyer nearby that can sit down with you and help provide clarity to this process. We offer a free initial consultation with a probate lawyer. Call today to schedule a consultation to learn more.